Tag Archives: setup

Using iOS and macOS every day

As you most probably know I’m bigger iPad’less at the moment and have fallen back to macOS for a lot of my production stuff. My current setup hardware wise is as follows:

  • 2016 MacBook 12”
  • iPad Mini 5
  • iPhone 11 Pro

What I’ve realised is that with the current creative projects I have going on these devices are working a lot better than I expected and I’m less and less interested in spending the money to get a 2018/20 iPad Pro.

Here’s how I’m currently working.


This is something that is probably 50/50 between an iOS device and macOS device. This post I’ve written up using TOT (review coming soon…) i.e. I want to write something up a bit longer form so I went for my device with a keyboard attached. The posts that come from my iOS devices are shorter where I want to quickly get something off my chest or share some cool links.


I have to be honest and have completely given up trying to podcast from an iOS device. I can’t afford the additional hardware I need when I have a Mac in front of me that is better (for me) at this task. Even when I recorded the audio into my iPad or imported audio files then I still struggle to edit on the iPad Mini. I tried Ferrite but I just couldn’t make it work for me. I find that Garageband on the Mac just works better for me in terms of efficiencies as I literally edited one podcast in an hour compared to half a day on the iPad and I still wasn’t happy with the result. My other issue with using an iPad for podcasting is that my podcast requires guests, this is a nightmare on iOS and I find an already out of my comfort zone activity is made more stressful when using something I’m not completely happy with.

Photo Editing

I take a lot of images on my iPhone and DSLR and have found that my iPad Mini or iPhone is where the editing happens. My MacBook just isn’t up to running the Photos app well, I have 8GB ram and it can’t keep up with my 40,000+ photo library. I end up just flying through them on iOS.


iOS is the hands down winner here, whilst I have watched Disney+ and YouTube on the Mac I much prefer the lay back form factor of the iPad here although I am missing a larger screen for video. I tend to listen to music evenly across the platforms with my Mac connected to the office HomePod in the day and then my iOS devices in the evening.


I’ve recorded using an iPad and MacBook and there isn’t a lot between them but I prefer macOS simply for the reason that I prefer to use Logic Pro to edit. That way I’m not transferring any files around. I plug in my MIC, record and edit all in the same app.


I quite like the keyboard on the MacBook now I’ve adjusted to it and for writing longer posts it’s the best experience for me in the current setup. I like also being within a fingers reach away from the trackpad, which helps my RSI. Having the iPad is a big win for my RSI also as I can simply take it with me and lie on the sofa or even pop outside in the garden and still get stuff done. If the monitor support was better on iPad I’d say it’s a winner overall but I can’t get over the black bars on the iPad when plugged into an external display.


So my overall setup here is something I’m really happy with right now. I have three devices that adjust to me, I prefer smaller devices and when I want the bigger display I plug my MacBook into a dock attached to a 32” widescreen monitor. The only thing I miss is a larger iPad display for watching video. I’m tempted to actually have a go at repairing my 10.5” iPad Pro somehow and have that as my larger iPad rather than spend £1000+ on a new setup that won’t fulfil all of my needs.

My 2019 iPad Setup

It’s been a while since I posted about the current state of my iPad’s. As you know the iPad is my main device and after doing some iOS restores yesterday I realised I have my perfect setup.

iPad Pro 10.5

It keeps on going, has TouchID and I have all the accessories I need in the Smart Keyboard cover and pencil. Yes the new Apple Pencil is much improved in my tests at the Apple Store but at the moment I can’t justify or to be honest afford to dump this setup for a new one. It’s not so much the price of a new iPad it’s the fact I’d need to buy all the accessories again. The performance of this two year old iPad is still amazing and even when testing iPadOS 13 it ran absolutely fine. It’s still a great deal if you’re after an iPad Pro in the used market.

iPad Mini 5

I treated myself to the mini this year and it’s a great device that gets the most use out of my iOS devices, including my iPhone. I don’t use the pencil much on it but I do read a lot of comic books and manage my to do list on it. If you’re after a small powerful tablet you can’t go wrong with this model. Also going back to my 10.5″ after using it is making me less tempted to get a new 12.9″ iPad Pro.


I’ve been testing the beta on and off but being only weeks away now from a new iPhone and official release I’m back off it. I lost all of my watch data again yesterday so I’ve decided that I don’t want to risk losing my photos in iCloud so for me I’m out. It’s a game changer on the 10.5″ with mouse support and more keyboard controls so I can’t wait to use it in anger again.

My iPad Mini home screen

I’ve refreshed my devices onto the beta so been setting up my iPad Mini again. I don’t restore from backup so it’s always a fresh look at my apps when I do this. As you can see I’ve moved back to Things to keep my week a bit simpler as I had a lot going on. Still using Bear for my notes and writing. Another change is using my iPad Mini to journal exclusively. I’ve uninstalled DayOne from my iPhone in fact. Social apps have moved here also off my iPhone.

I’m planning on writing up more posts on how I’m recording music on iOS and want to relax a bit more so I’ll be playing more guitar and freelance writing less. This is part of realising I’m taking on too much in terms of projects. More on this in a later post.

My iPad Pro setup

I’ve had my 10.5″ iPad Pro since June 2017 and now the newly designed one is out I thought I’d provide an update and thoughts on using it as my daily “computer “.

As you can see I’ve customised it somewhat (sticker haters look away) and I have the Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil almost always attached. I’ve held off with an update to the hardware this year, for me I can’t justify the price increases when I have an iPad I’m happy with.

Anyway, I digress.

So I’ve got the 256GB with a few movies that like to rewatch when I’m on the go (Avengers: Infinity War, various Star Wars including Clone Wars which I’m working my way through) and most of my music downloaded locally. Across all of my devices I go for as much storage as I can afford. Another reason for staying put this year as I can only afford 64GB, Apple this should be 128GB as the base model but that’s a topic for another day.

I’m my 9-5 job I’m still using Notebility to take on the fly meeting notes and sketches that I can take into more formal documents as reference. These are often server architecture diagrams that I can easily export as PDF and share. I have tried Apple Notes but I find the pen tools more satisfying in Noteability.

Outside of my day job I obviously blog and podcast so for that I’m using Noteability again to write show outlines and ideas. My posts are either written directly into the WordPress app or iA Writer.

For podcasting I’ve gone more basic and nowadays using my iPhone with Ferrite. I’ll either use my Yeti Mic or just the headphones. I find either work fine for my micro-casts, I’m no ATP yet.

I’ll upload to podbean via mobile Safari, which works well. This handles distribution.

If I want to try to relax and do some sketching I’ll use Procreate.

Photo editing these days is done via Photos. Even if I’m importing via my DSLR I’ll often touch up in Photos rather than use a dedicated Photo app.

I’m not going to talk about productivity because I change my mind so much!

Durability wise my 10.5 has held up well. I don’t baby my tech but I’m not abusive to it either. The screen is fine but remember I used to use a matte screen protector until about a month ago. The edges have a few nicks where it’s gone into my camera bag and general moving around. The back has some scratches but overall great.

The keyboard hasn’t fared so well and the corners are starting to fray but it works just fine.

Apple Pencil has some scratches but continues to work well.

So that’s an update from me, what apps and setup are you using for your iPad?

My iPad Home screen (May 2018 edition)

Here’s an update on my home screen, specifically the iPad Pro 10.5″ that has become my main device.

Here’s the apps I use the most.

  • OmniFocus: I bounce between to do apps almost monthly but I’m trying to get myself settled on OmniFocus
  • WordPress: The app I use to manage my blog and add new posts
  • Music: I’m an Apple Music subscriber and aside from a few UI issues I’ve come to like it a lot
  • Tweetbot: My Twitter app of choice, I cannot stand the official app so I’m hoping that we continue to see updates to third party apps
  • Notes: My note taking app of choice, reliable sync and being able to use the Apple Pencil means that I can use it for both work and play
  • IA Writer: I use iA Writer to sketch out ideas and start the bulk of the writing on my posts
  • DuckDuckGo browser: Pretty much replaced Safari for me these days, puts privacy first and gets frequent updates
  • Marvel Unlimited: I’ve recently got back into comic books having read them growing up, Marvel Unlimited gives me everything I need, although I wish that you could download more than 12 issues when on the go

What are some of your favourite apps?

How I use my iPad Pro

When I was using my iPad the other day listening to music whilst I’m at work it dawned on me, I don’t need a MAC for much of anything these days. This led me onto Twitter and an idea of posting what I use and how I use it. I’m not going to go into masses of detail but the hardware and accessories I’ve come to rely on.


I’ve had all of the various iPad sizes but have settled on by far my favourite that has been released so far – the iPad Pro 10.5”. I had the 12.9” for a year and although I loved the screen size it always felt unwieldy and not anymore portable than a laptop. I ultimately sold it and went back to the 9.7” form factor for a bit. This was great until Apple released the 10.5”, which on face value seemed the perfect iPad for me. Slightly less bezel meaning a bigger screen in a similar body would fit the bill. I bought one on day one and haven’t regretted it since, in fact it might be my favourite Apple “computer”. This year is going to be interesting if Apple do indeed lose the home button on the iPad Pro and go with an even smaller bezel and FaceID, that will be something that is going to be very tempting. Imagine a 12.9” screen in something similar to the 10.5” body, mmmmm.

So, iPad is a Pro, 10.5” in Space Grey with 256GB of storage. I maxed it out so that I don’t run into storage anxiety, to be honest though I’ve used it. Taking it almost everywhere means that I can use it not just for being productive but have plenty of space for movies. I recommend anyone saving a little more to get the most storage you can, after all you can’t add it again later.


In the past I didn’t spend a lot on iPad accessories but since moving to the Pro range I’ve invested in those that will help me move towards using the iPad as my only computing device.

First off I picked up a Smart Keyboard cover, which (controversially) might be my favourite keyboard of all time. I love the feel of the keys with their soft touch material and the travel seems pretty much perfect (for me) and I much prefer the experience on it over my 12” MacBook that this is looking to replace. It lives on my iPad and it goes everywhere with me. Oh, it’s also fine to wash it with soap under the tap – something I have done several times. It’s then left to dry on the sink and put in our airing cupboard with the clothes to dry off. I’ve done this several times and (touch wood) no problems so far. There, I’ve gone and cursed myself now haven’t I…

At the same time I also picked up a Smart Cover (in Red) that goes on the iPad when I’m out and about and don’t want to do any heavy typing. I’m often on the go on the weekend and being able to travel as light as possible to use the iPad for reading or light typing (on the glass) means that the Smart Cover also gets a lot of use.

My last accessory that gets the most use is the Apple Pencil. I use it for Mind Mapping (in Notes), Brain Dumping (again, in Notes or Noteability), colouring (in Pigment), sketching diagrams and making notes for my day job (in Noteability with iCloud sync). I’m no artist but when I want to relax I might sketch or doodle (in Procreate). I’m constantly amazed by the responsiveness of the Pencil and it is one of my favourite Apple products of the last 5 years (AirPods also make that list, watch for a post coming soon).


I either carry my iPad with me or put it in my beloved LowePro Hatchback (22L) that goes with me pretty much everywhere. When I want to do some “proper” photography I can take my iPad and all of my DSLR gear (CANON 70D + a few lenses) in something that I can also put a drink and day snacks.

It’s turned out to be a really great bag and anyone looking for something comfortable to take their tech around in should check out a photography bag.


I didn’t want to go into a great deal about the apps that I use, I do a lot of posts on this and I swap them out frequently. Instead I wanted to share what I’m using my iPad for and simply mention the apps.

  • Blogging: Like what I’m doing now, written up using iA Writer and uploaded using the Squarespace blog app
  • Photography: Most of my images are taken on my iPhone so the iPad makes a nice large canvas for me to edit or sort into folders. I occasionally use the SD Card reader to take images off memory cards when I’m out and about
  • Watching video: YouTube, Netflix and iTunes stuff
  • Listening to music: Sit’s next to my home office desk on most of the day, streaming to my HomePod (more on this in a later post)
  • Guitar: I use the iPad to learn new songs via the Tabs HD app and record using GarageBand, Music Memos and JamUp Pro
  • Sketching and note taking using Notes and Noteability
  • Reading comics: I do this via my Marvel Unlimited subscription

This covers everything I’m doing, the only thing I can’t easily do at the moment is record podcasts but it’s not something I’m currently doing. If you have any suggestions on ways you do this please let me know in the comments or on social. I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at my setup and please let me know how you use your iPad.

Stuff I’m using: